Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Every year, my mom has a cookie exchange, and I make several dozen cookies to trade with a group of people. Last year I made Carrot Oatmeal Cookies full of coconut. This year, after much deliberation and a somewhat last-minute decision, I settled on the Coconut Cookies from Good to the Grain.
Let me tell you - I do not want to see another cookie recipe for quite some time after this ordeal. My head is spinning. This recipe has you do things in such a strange way. If you know a bit about the ingredients you're working with, it will probably make sense to you (as it did to me after an a-ha moment) but it makes for quite a difficult experience. You basically cream sugar and eggs together, add the dry ingredients, add room-temperature butter (here's where it starts to get difficult - I could hear my poor little mixer begging me to stop torturing it), THEN you add coconut milk. In the recipe's defense, I was making double batches, but go over to your mixer, fill it 2/3 of the way with dough, then add 2 1/2 cups of liquid, and see where it goes. Not into the dough, that's for sure. I won't be surprised to find spots of coconut milk in some unusual places. That being said, I can understand why this is done this way. Coconut flour is very absorbent and it sucks in liquid fairly gradually. I'm sure the internet could explain it to you better.
Naturally, when you are making eight batches of an unusual cookie recipe (in my case, four double batches), something is bound to go wrong. With the unusual order of adding ingredients, I completely forgot the butter for my second batch. I went all the way through to the coconut milk before I realized it. The only thing I didn't waste was two cups of shredded coconut. So I tried to put the butter in anyway. Eventually I accepted that it was not salvageable and now I've got several dollars sitting in the bottom of my garbage can. Wonderful.
I was up very late making dough. It was my plan to scoop the balls of dough, roll them in coconut, and put them in the fridge that way to bake this afternoon, but when I rolled one out, it just kind of melted everywhere, so I decided to just put the dough straight in the fridge and turn it into cookies today instead. This worked out well because the dough was firm to start with and got softer as I worked through the container, but not quite as soft as it had been when it was first made. I made one cookie sheet with a 3 tablespoon scoop, as the directions told me to, but I panicked and switched to a 2 tablespoon scoop so that I wouldn't be short on the number of cookies. Unsurprisingly, this also shortened the baking time (an even 16 minutes worked perfectly) so this process took a very long but surprisingly quick 3 hours.
I was skeptical about the expensive ingredients and the amount of work I was doing for these ridiculous cookies. But when that first batch came out of the oven (the bigger ones, obviously they couldn't be used for the exchange and therefore absolutely had to be eaten immediately) they were pillowy soft inside, with a crisp coconut-flaked outside.
I now had five dinner plates and three cooling racks covered in stacks of coconut cookies. My plan for wrapping them up was to use a fold-over plastic sandwich bag (got those by accident and need to use them up) placed inside a paper bag with the top folded down, holepunched, and tied with a ribbon. I ended up putting them in fold-over plastic sandwich bags and put those inside paper bags. 11 cookies in each. I folded them over and tied a ribbon vertically and called it a day. (I don't even own a holepuncher!) By that point it was time to leave so I was really cutting it close! But I made it, with all my cookies. And people seemed to like them. :)